Many people are confused by the industry’s use of the phrase “lunchbox.” Those in the know are aware that it represents a revolution in the way the audio business interacts with rack unit gear and is not actually a case for your sandwiches. It was created by API in the 1970s and is currently a very well-liked modular analogue rack gear format.
At the most fundamental level, individual modules (such an EQ) are put into a rack to receive power. A number of units (modules) can fit inside each case, which also provides input and output routing for each unit in addition to powering up the modules. Because it is modular, engineers may easily “mix and match” modules from various manufacturers to design the ideal signal path. Many of us find that this is far more liberating than being confined to a set console desk (not to mention, a lot cheaper).
The success of the 500 series is also greatly attributed to its portability and convenience. Given that many bedroom producers work out of cramped apartments, the 500 series is a desirable choice because it has a tiny form factor and is portable for producers who are constantly on the go.
API 500-8B – 8-Channel 500 Series Lunchbox Rack
In this API 8-slot lunchbox, you can include eight of your favorite 500 Series modules. The 8-slot lunchbox provides a steady 250mA across all eight slots, allowing API 500 Series and VPR-approved modules to work seamlessly. All of the features that made the 6-slot (500-6B) chassis so popular are included, including DB-25 D-Sub connectivity for easy I/O and simple cabling, Phantom Power for condenser mics, and a rubber carrying handle that can be swapped for an optional rackmount kit for permanent installation. As an extra benefit, the 8-slot lunchbox comes with toggle switches that make it simple to link channels.
The best 500 series chassis has a back panel’s DB25 connectors make it simple to connect to practically any multichannel interface or patchbay you can think of (provided they use those connectors). 250 mA per slot is more than enough to power any of our VPR-approved modules or rack gear.
The item is well-made, with a substantial amount of weight and rubber feet for traction. The API 500-8B (see price on Amazon here) will look and perform fantastic wherever you decide to put it, whether you rack-mount it or simply place it atop your studio desk. It’s a robust unit, however not everyone appreciates Lunchbox’s decision to use an external power supplies. This is the Best 500 Series Cases in 2023.
Lindell Audio 506 Power MK II 6-Slot 500 Series Chassis
The 506 Power Mk II chassis from Lindell Audio can house up to six 500-series modules in a small but sturdy package. The original 506 was a hit because of its strong performance and low pricing. Lindell has improved performance even more in the second-generation 506 by moving the power supply outboard and replacing it with a new external no-noise high-frequency-switching unit that supplies just the right amount of power to run your modules with crystal clear sound. They’ve also added DB-25 connectors to the mix, in addition to gold-plated XLRs, to expand connectivity choices.
Lindell Audio is a Swedish company that makes mic preamps, compressors, EQs, and other audio gear. Tobias Lindell (Europe, Mustasch, Hardcore Superstar) founded the company in 2010 as a method to furnish his Bohus Sound Studios with high-end equipment that was unavailable elsewhere. The Lindell Audio 506 Power can carry up to six 500 series modules in a small, portable container. It’s a low-cost solution for housing and powering your favorite 500 series modules.
The lightweight aluminum chassis of the 506 has a tiny footprint, making the rack unit gear ideal for any studio or mobile equipment. The cheap 506 Power Mk II is a no-nonsense device that provides you everything you need to get your studio up and running with your important 500 Series processors. With the Lindell Audio 506 Power Mk II chassis, you may build your ideal signal chain using 500 series modules for your home studio.
The Lindell Audio 506 Power Mk II 500 series chassis is a lightweight and small chassis that accommodates six 500-series processors in a single easy-to-transport unit. Quickly and easily rearrange your preamps, EQs, and effects in any order. The Feed switch on the 506 even allows you to blend one channel into another without using cords. The no-noise, high-frequency switching power supply from Lindell keeps those pesky gremlins out of your signal chain. When you’re trying to record, nothing is more annoying than hiss and crackle. Lindell gave the 506 Power Mk II power supply additional attention to achieve the greatest, cleanest performance possible.
Radial Engineering Workhorse SixPack 500 Series Desktop Rack
- Portable 6 slot power rack with carry handle Perfect for stereo channels or as a studio side car Powerful 1600 milliamp supply will not sag when...
- The SixPack is a desktop power rack for 500 series modules that lets you mix and match up to six modules and safely power them to create a stereo...
- The design begins with a heavy 14 gauge steel construction and baked enamel finish
For 500 series modules, the Radial SixPack is a portable 6-slot powered lunchbox style rack. It’s meant to be conveniently carried using the built-in handle or rack mounted with the optional flanges (sold separately). In a normal 19″rack, it takes up three rack slots.
Hit producers like Joe Barresi, Kevin Churko, and Joe Chiccarelli have made the SixPack a studio favorite. It has received favorable reviews in music magazines including as Mix Magazine, Recording Magazine, MusicTech, and Electronic Musician for its design, features, and versatility.
The SixPack is 100 percent compatible with the previous API pin format and works with both current and older 500 series modules in terms of compatibility. It complies with the VPR Alliance’s 500 series standardization and consistency compatibility requirements.
The SixPack is made of 14-gauge steel, which not only protects the 500 modules from damage but also provides RF/magnetic field shielding. It has a 1600 mA power supply that provides over 265 mA of electricity per slot. The 500 series standards demand for 130 mA, so there’s plenty of energy for power-hungry modules like tube mic preamps.
Two XLR inputs are located on the front panel for easy mic connection. These inputs can be routed to channels 7 and 8 on the D-Sub connection, or to inputs 1 and 4. Both XLR and 14″ TRS inputs and outputs are available on the back panel. The XLR jacks are wired in parallel with the 14-pin connections, allowing them to be utilized as mults or for cross-patching modules for creative purposes. Connecting to an audio interface or mixer is a breeze thanks to two 25-pin D-Sub connectors. You can link one module to the next using a feed switch.
The SixPack contains power and 48V phantom power indication LEDs on the front panel. It contains a Stereo Link switch on the back that connects two nearby channels for stereo processing. Depending on the module attached, there is also an Omniport 14″ TRS jack that can be utilized to access additional functionality. Radial’s PowerTube mic preamp, for example, uses it as an instrument DI.
This is chosen by the module’s manufacturer; Omniport is supported by an increasing number of firms, including Grace Design, Purple Audio, and Serpent Audio. Finally, the SixPack has a built-in safety feature that protects the rest of the connected modules in the event that one fails.
Rupert Neve Designs R6 Six Space 500 Series Rack
- 500 Series Chassis with LED Current Consumption Meter
- Double-shielded Internal Power Supply
- Variable-position Screw Holes
The Rupert Neve Designs R6 can be the finest 500 series case for you if connector flexibility is vital. This one also has internal jumpers that can be used to connect adjacent channels. The movable screw-holes are also a nice feature, especially if you need to install 500 series modules with different sized faceplates. A bespoke rack frame is also available for customers who want to put the R6 in a regular 19′′ rack, where it takes up 3U of rack space.
The chassis is made of solid steel and has bumpers on both sides to support the device in both horizontal and vertical positions. It also has a collapsible handle for transportation. The R6’s connectors and fittings are of the greatest quality, ensuring that it will last for many years.
The movable screw-holes are also useful for fitting 500 series modules with slightly different holes or a different faceplate size. A rack kit is available for individuals who want to mount the R6 in a regular 19′′ rack frame. The R6 also takes up 3U of rack space when the bottom feet are removed.
The audio interface does exactly what it says on the label. The 150 percent supply capacity keeps power rails from failing when the load is higher than predicted. The LED metering does a wonderful job of displaying power consumption, and knowing that the internal power supply is doubly insulated provides us peace of mind.
Heritage Audio OST-6, 6 Slot 500 Series Rack with On Slot Technology
The OST-6 by Heritage Audio is a 500 Series chassis that can hold up to six modules. The OST-6 includes the company’s “On Slot” technology, which uses next-generation power electronics to handle per-slot module power requirements. One slot in the OST-6 is equipped with its own linear power-supply regulation stage, effectively isolating each module from the others. The metal enclosure is shared by all modules.
For stand-alone use, the OST-6 comes with a handle and rubber feet, or you may rackmount it using the provided ears. In any case, the Heritage Audio OST-6 is guaranteed to provide years of trouble-free professional service.
Heritage Audio’s On Slot technology (OST) distinguishes the OST-6 from other 500 series racks. The OST-10 can deliver a lot of current thanks to OST: up to 1.6A per rail or 400mA per rail per slot, whichever comes first. The maximum phantom power current is 140 milliamperes. For easy power-status monitoring, each slot has its own red (+16V) and green (-16V) test LEDs situated beside the slot connector. The OST-10 has Heritage Audio’s typical weapons-grade build quality, with its heavy-gauge steel construction and traditional RAF blue-gray paint.